Mystery Shopping Secrets: What You Need to Know



Mystery shopping in itself is often a big secret. In fact, if you are like most people, you had only casually heard about mystery shopping before you started working in this line of work yourself. For many people, mystery shopping is almost an urban legend. Many people have heard that you can get paid for “shopping,” but they just didn’t believe it was really possible. However, as a mystery shopper now, you have learned that mystery shopping is real. Now, you need to learn some of the top mystery shopping secrets so that you can really make the most money possible in this line of work.


Not All Providers Are the Same

One of the most important things every mystery shopper needs to know is that not all providers are the same. Many mystery shopping providers vary considerably with regards to the compensation they offer as well as the complexity of the assignments they offer.. Further, some will offer different types of assignments than others offer. By exploring the differences between different providers more closely, you may be able to find providers that pay more money for less demanding assignments. Further, you may find a greater level of job satisfaction by taking a closer look at the providers and the assignments available through each of them.


Tax Write-Offs

Many newer mystery shoppers don’t realize all of the tax benefits associated with being an independent contractor. As a mystery shopper, you are not working as an employee of a mystery shopping provider. Instead, you are an independent contractor, which essentially means that you are self-employed and operating your business out of your house. You therefore can enjoy many of the same benefits that other self-employed contractors can enjoy. This includes writing off business miles traveled in your car, office supplies and equipment, and even a portion of your home office space as tax deductions. Of course, you will want to explore the deductions in more detail with a tax accountant.


Note-Taking Options

One of the biggest complaints new mystery shoppers have about the job is that it is impossible to keep track of all  of the assignment requirements as well as all of the details you are supposed to take note of during an assignment. However, there are some secret ways that you can take notes along with you on your assignments. While you cannot bring your assignment requirements with you on-site, you can jot down notes in an electronic device like your smart phone. Another option is to use a hand-written shopping list. You will want to pick and choose your secret note-taking option carefully based on the specific assignment. For example, a shopping list would look out-of-place in a restaurant assignment site visit. By putting these note-taking options to use, you can decrease the stress associated with many different types of assignments.


Mystery shoppers often learn these secrets on the job through their own personal experiences, but these secrets are yours to enjoy now. You may also enjoy learning other secrets and tricks of the trade by visiting the mystery shopping job boards regularly and paying attention to the posts of seasoned mystery shoppers.